Deadline looming to submit ballots in USDA FSA elections

Published 3:25 pm Friday, January 3, 2014

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia is urging local farmers and ranchers to vote in their county committee elections.

Ballots were mailed to eligible voters on Dec. 20. The deadline to return those ballots to local FSA offices is Jan. 17. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Jan. 17.

Eligible voters who do not receive a ballot in the coming week can obtain one from their local USDA Service Center.

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To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm may also be eligible to vote.

According to officials with the USDA, county committee members are an important component of the operations of FSA and provide a link between the agricultural community and USDA. Farmers and ranchers elected to county committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity price support programs; conservation programs; incentive indemnity and disaster programs for some commodities; emergency programs and eligibility. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

Close to 7,700 FSA county committee members serve in the 2,124 FSA offices nationwide. Each committee consists of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Approximately one-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Feb. 18.

Farmers and ranchers should destroy the FSA County Committee Election ballots (FSA-669’s) mailed on Nov. 4. Corrected ballots were mailed out in December.